A trial program allowing fans back into Canberra Stadium has been given the green light by the ACT Government on the same day COVID-19 restrictions are easing in the Territory.
From midday today (19 June), 100 people can gather at pubs and venues as long as they abide by the ‘four square metre per person’ rule.
Restrictions have also eased for gyms, health clubs, fitness centres and boot camps, which can now operate with a maximum of 100 people (including staff or trainers) per indoor or outdoor space, or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.
And as the Raiders prepare to take on the Sea Eagles at their makeshift home ground in Campbelltown, fans could be able to watch their team live as early as 3 July if the NRL gives the Green Machine the go-ahead to play their home games back in Canberra.
“The Chief Health Officer (CHO) has approved a pilot stadium project in partnership with Canberra Stadium that will allow between 1000 to 2000 fans to attend the Brumbies game scheduled for 4 July and hopefully with NRL approval, the Raiders game on 3 July,” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
“The CHO has been working closely with Canberra Stadium officials and with the Raiders and Brumbies about how that will look, and we are hoping for at least a thousand people to be able to attend those games in early July as we move to have an increased number of spectators.
“On the rough guidelines that have been provided, a rough guideline of 25 per cent capacity at Canberra Stadium would allow 6000 to 6500 spectators in the coming rounds.”
Tickets are expected to go to season ticket holders first, but the total allocation will be up to each club.
The Raiders are also set to play the Storm in Campbelltown on 11 July before taking on the Rabbitohs on 25 July, while the next home game for the Brumbies after the pilot would be their clash against the Reds on 1 August.
Players and officials would be separated from spectators under the current guidelines, and seat spacing is likely to take place, although families and household groups will be allowed to sit together, the Chief Minister flagged.
The player bubble would be on the Meninga Stand side of Canberra Stadium and the spectators on the Gregan Larkham Stand side, Mr Barr said.
“Outdoor protocols will be a lot easier to manage. The health risks are more about transport to and from the venue, getting in and out of Canberra Stadium and the food and beverage offerings.
“With relatively small numbers it might be possible to have a delivery service to your seat. The health service advice has been around seated and ticketed events, so the expectation is people buy a ticket, they are allocated a seat, and they stay in that seat, that is what makes it work.
“We really want this pilot to be successful in early July so if it is successful we can scale it up.”
National Cabinet will meet next Friday to discuss the next stage of lifting restrictions, and what a possible fourth stage could look like.
The discussions will encompass largescale outdoor events.